DUBAI // Early entries have been received for the US$250,000 (Dh918,000) Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, which is to be held for the first time in March. Organisers are hoping to attract a maximum field of 1,000 amateur and professional athletes for the event's long and short-course routes and so far have taken 317 registrations. The competition features a 223km course - 3km shorter than the internationally-recognised ironman distance - as well as a 111.5km course.
By concluding the longer event with a run leg shorter than typical ironman contests, organisers say competitors will recover more quickly and be more encouraged to enter. A target of 50 of the world's top triathletes has been set for the March 13 event. The shorter distance can be undertaken solo or as a relay with a team of three each taking one discipline from 1.5km swim, 100km cycle or 10km run.
For both events the swim stage will take place in the lagoon at Emirates Palace Hotel, while cyclists will pass the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Corniche as well as Saadiyat Island on closed-off roads before concluding on the track on Yas Island. The athletes will then run back towards the city through the Heritage Village. "The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon was designed to be accessible to all levels and to engage the community fully, whether seasoned pros or those determined to get really fit," said Faisal al Sheikh, head of Major Events Division, at Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
"The relay option helps achieve that goal. It is a great team-building initiative, and is suitable for companies and organisations looking to promote health and fitness or a group of friends wanting to try something new." Entry fees are US$180 (Dh659) for the long course and $123 for the short-course. For information and registration click on www.abudhabitriathlon.com. firstname.lastname@example.org